Everyone knows you need marketing to succeed, but who can you trust who will actually bring results? Here’s a guy whose clients range from a local moving company to the great Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady. Adam Padilla is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of BrandFire and I had the opportunity to hear from him how he’s developed strategies that actually bring results. Here’s the deal:
Jay: Branding is a crucial component for a company’s success. But what does branding actually mean? Everyone calls themselves “marketing experts” but who knows what type of results they get. You’ve worked for illustrious brands like Coca-Cola, MasterCard, Spanx and even Tom Brady! What really happens when a company comes to you seeking your branding expertise?
Adam: It’s definitely true that there are plenty of groups that focus on branding but I think what sets us aside from the pack is that we literally turn a company inside out so that you come out of the gate blazing hot. We make sure that when you go to the next trade show people will immediately want to invest in you. A great example of this is one of our clients Roadway Moving, a NYC moving company. These guys are unbelievable movers and super focused on providing the absolute best customer experience with great customer reviews to back it up. When they came to us they were doing around$10M a year but needed a plan to grow. As the saying goes “you have one chance to make a great first impression” and while their service was phenomenal the outward appearance of the brand was at best a disappointing B-.
Jay: What were some of the techniques you used to turn that around?
Adam: To be honest Jay, there really are no secret techniques that turn a brand around like that. Instead we did a complete makeover on absolutely everything. We changed the logo on the truck, completely redid the website, reprinted their t-shirts, rewrapped all of their trucks and even changed the design on all of their boxes. It took a tremendous amount of strategy, quick execution and certainly a lot of money. Then in just three months his sales spiked 3x his average and they were thrilled. I think a common misconception that businesses and marketers make is that they assume that if the service is great you don’t have to focus on the appearance and that’s a big mistake. You can be the best in the world, but if your appearance is subpar, people will view you as subpar.
Jay: That’s a great point and having a razor sharp appearance is key to long term growth. However, I know that Tom Brady is one of your clients and being that his brand is certainly blazing hot already, what is he looking for from a branding perspective?
Adam: There’s a couple key factors that play into a marketing decision for someone like Tom Brady. Firstly, while it’s true that his name alone is one of the biggest and most popular brands in sports, a lot his brand is owned by Nike, the NFL and so many more of the brands that he endorses. At a certain point players want something of their own, something that they can control. So when he came to us he wanted us to design a personal brand that he would have full control over. Another extremely important point is authenticity and trust. When you’re that famous you begin to trust less and less people because everyone out there just wants to use you. When Tom was looking for someone to create his brand we made sure we explained exactly what we were doing, no fanfare or cameras taking pictures. Just professionals coming up with a plan that would give him the biggest value. Our authenticity is what made Tom Brady and other brands feel confident in using our services.
Jay: I see what you’re saying from a marketing/branding perspective, but once that’s done how do you grow from there? You can’t keep rebranding, so how do you keep the momentum growing?
Adam: Excellent point Jay and you’re right! It’s a separate challenge to continue to bring added value and rebranding would do more harm than good in such a situation. You want your customers to retain the image you introduced them to but at the same time you need a strategy to keep it fresh. From our experience, once we have a client designed properly we create multiple campaigns for our clients throughout the year. We look for the proper balance between social media advertising and paid media such as subway ads, billboards and TV commercials. While the conversations are certainly taking place on social media, having multiple touch points adds exposure and authenticity to a brand. When you put something on social media you’re competing with literally millions of other posts that are coming out by the second. But when you combine that with a billboard ad in the subway station, you’re then able to prominently display your brand in front of millions of people without the competition. Additionally, it reminds them of the ad they saw on Facebook that morning, or on that TV commercial they saw on their phone an hour ago. Seeing the ad in another location adds a tremendous amount of authenticity. Our commitment to our clients has produced hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. Anyone can be a marketer, but to add real value you need to create a brand that consumers will respect as well as a strategy to ensure that when consumers need the service your provide the brand they immediately think of is you!
Adam is the Co-Founder and visionary of BrandFire. A celebrated branding expert with a regular feature as CBS’ Branding Insider for Entertainment Tonight, Adam lends his insight tactical intelligence and abundant creative talents to his clients. He has been working with his partner Jesse Itzler since 2007, directing projects for ZICO, NetJets, Pretzel Crisps, Tom Brady and RUNDMC.